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Spanking: Where do you draw the line?

Discussion in 'Debate Forum' started by Steampunk, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. Steampunk

    Steampunk One Truth Prevails

    Okay, a me and some of my friends noticed a kid who was acting really obnoxiously at the movie theater a few days ago. We got into the discussion of whether or not parents should spank their children. I personally was on the fence. I personally was spanked on occasion and I do think it benefit me, but I'm not sure if I would do it to my own children or not. I guess I'll list some of the positive and negative aspects of this issue:

    It gets the point across that the parent is serious.
    (Claim)It teaches children how to behave.
    (Claim)It gets across that something is wrong even if a child may not understand it at that given moment.

    It is painful.
    Some parents may overdo it.
    (Claim) It is harmful to the children in the long run(Mentally).
    (Claim) It teaches children how to lie ("I didn't do it")
    (Claim) It results in children being violent later in life.

    Now, I would just like to note that I added the word "Claim" to some of these, because some people say that spanking does these things while others disagree, and to the best of my knowledge, the ones without the word claim, almost everyone agrees on.

    Now, I'll input my opinion on these.
    I do think that it gets the point across that the parent is serious, and that the children will know that they will get punished if they do not behave. And as there will be instances when a child simply cannot understand a given reason that something is wrong, and continue to do it, at the very least they will know that doing it will result in something unpleasant for them.
    As to the Negative side, yes it is painful, but that is kind of the point, now I am not saying that you take a whip and scar your child, but a hand from to the rear rarely leaves more than a red mark (Unless you're superman or something). Now, I personally do not think that it harms the mentally in the long run, a child will know that all of their actions can have an effect on your future. If you do something wrong when you are an adult, then you will be arrested, and in depending on what and where you did, you could get as much as the death penalty. It seems to me that not teaching your child that your actions have consequences, will only harm them in the long run, given them the idea that they can do whatever they want. Now, yes maybe it teaches children to lie, but so can anything. Asking them if their homework is done "Yep"(NOT) etc. etc. Perhaps it makes children being violent, but if being exposed to violence at a young age = Being a violent person later in life, then why they heck do so many parents not spank their children and yet let them play COD? Its a hypocritical double-standard.

    Now there are undoubtedly many more arguments to this issue, I just wanted to name a few.

    I would also like to post an article that includes some statistics

    Go nuts.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  2. Sadib

    Sadib Time Lord Victorious

    No. I do not support child abuse.

    If you cannot discipline your child without resorting to violence, you really are a failure of a parent.

    EDIT: I'm getting lots of bad rep from different people who think I ruined their childhood by claiming that they were abused.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
    PinkiePieFox likes this.
  3. Ivoright

    Ivoright I am back! Probably.

    The punishment works better if it relates to the crime, and if it actually helps prevent misbehavior through teaching the reasons why it was wrong, and why it should not be done again. Spanking may create short-term obedience, but it fuels anger and fear, which is not good for family relationships.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
    miles0624 likes this.
  4. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie "It is my destiny."

    Well, you know how when you touch a burning stove and you pull away because its painful, and you never do it again because it's painful? Spanking is going to be painful, there's no other way around it. I'm not saying spanking your child will lead them to believe everything they're going to do will lead to pain and suffering (and actually, I think some children get used to it to where they laugh off spanking depending on how they're getting spanked), but it should be used as a punishment that tells them, "Hey, if I do this bad thing that makes my mommy and daddy angry, I'm going to hurt again. I don't want to get hurt, so I probably shouldn't do it again."

    It's worked for me, and I don't remember being spanked too much. I was, of course, but my parents didn't spank me and my brothers all of the time, I think they only did it as a last resort or something, I don't know. They didn't use the belt or a paddle, just their hand and they never draped me over a knee and pulled my pants down. I personally believe in spanking children when they're being disobedient because it's discipline--and it should be used for some form of discipline and not something to throw around just because. And depending on how the child is being spanked (or even how often, though concern should be for both the child and parent if the child's not behaving), it could be a form of child abuse. But I feel it should only be used under certain circumstances, even though there are plenty of other ways to discipline disobedient children, and that should be left to the parents. Teachers (and I'm sure other adults) used to spank children all the time back in the day, though whether that was a good thing or not is really up to the individual, though a lot of elderly might say it worked and it should be back in schools. *shrugs*

    Really, a lot of children are brats these days, and parents need to learn to discipline their children somehow or another while still showing they care for them. I don't know what's going on in the heads of parents that they're afraid to punish their child for their misbehavior, whether they're afraid their child's going to "hate them" or something, I don't know, but it feels like to me a lot of children aren't being disciplined enough. And I don't feel that's a good thing.
    miles0624 and Cometstarlight like this.
  5. Steampunk

    Steampunk One Truth Prevails

    While its true that you should definitely try to explain why it is wrong to the child, sometimes the child just doesn't get it. Take for example this kid I babysat one time, I could explain why biting people was wrong until I was blue in the face and that kid would still bite me. Sometimes a kid just need to lean that things can and will have consequences. If you bite someone as an adult, then you most likely get arrested, if you bite someone as a child, you get punished. And there is also the fact that there are some things that a Child just can't understand at their age and they still have to listen to their parents. You may have heard about the Rwandan genocide? During that, families literally had so hide and be absolutely SILENT for days. That would be extremely difficult if not impossible to explain to a small child, and yet they would still have to listen to their parents.

    Now, I personally have no problem with disciplining a kid this way as long as you don't seriously injure the kid. But that's not to say there aren't other ways of disciplining that work. I know personally that I only got spanked after I got my video games taken away. And I also believe that it shouldn't be your first option, and obviously, you shouldn't spank a kid for something like spilling his milk at a restaurant, and if the kid just doesn't listen when you tell him not to bite people.

    Yes I guess that is true, you lean from your mistakes, and if you are doing something that is likely to have a negative consequence, but somehow you got away with it alright. (Playing in the street for example) Your parents should still help you to learn from their mistakes, that's their job, to prepare you for the world.

    Yeah, I agree that the degree and how often is an issue, and like I mentioned, there are times when you simply can't explain things to a child and you still need them to listen.

    Yeah, they make fun of this subject in a lot of shows (Last Man Standing comes to mind, and I'm sure there's others). But people (And therefore the children who grew up into these people) are just plain old jerks. I do believe that these children need much more discipline than their getting, and people who say that their children will hate them fore it....well, if you pick them up, hurl them against a wall, break their arm, give them blisters etc etc. yeah they will hate you, and rightly so, but a little pinch to keep them quiet when you're hiding for your lives is another matter entirely.
  6. Peter Quill

    Peter Quill star-lord

    Wow so I guess my parents who spanked me a little who ended up being totally amazing people who have helped me through incredibly difficult periods of my life were "failures" good to know.

    I guess what it boils down to in the end for me is that I wouldn't be afraid to give my child a "light tap" or something, only once to let them know that it isn't ok or whatever. That's what happened to me and I had really good relationships with my parents? Then I see people who use belts and whatnot and I find that really repugnant and disgusting. It's easy to "spank" a child without causing that much pain? At least not to cause serious damage like continual beating or a belt or whatever.

    This is actually a really good topic for debate but I wish the OP was constructed a little better. Oh well c'est la vie.
  7. Pesky Persian

    Pesky Persian Caffeine Queen

    I'm just curious: If you think a child is incapable of understanding why something is wrong (and therefore talking it out with them is pointless), what good does spanking actually do? If they can't understand why it's not something they should do, what does violence accomplish?

    I was spanked as a child, but that doesn't mean I think it's something that needs to carry on just because it's a traditional form of discipline. Anyone who has studied child psychology to any extent knows that children are capable of understanding more than we give them credit for. I wouldn't go so far as saying that people who spank their children are "failures," but I think if the only way you can get your point across to a child is through the use of a violence, maybe you should work on your communication skills.

    It really baffles me that people seem to think that negative reinforcement is still the way to go when it comes to raising children. FFS, we can teach dogs (highly intelligent animals but not nearly to the level of humans, especially when they're pups, which is when training usually begins) to have good manners using positive reinforcement (look at the high success rate of things such as clicker training; positive reinforcement, no violence required) but we still think it's necessary to hit children in the name of discipline. If you can't use your intelligence and words to explain why something is wrong to a child, what on earth makes you think they're going to learn to understand and reason and use their words to explain why they're doing something? It only breeds more communication issues.

    Edit: Also agreeing with Moogles that the OP is p terrible. Like seriously? That's your opening statement? lmao
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  8. Zazie

    Zazie So 1991

    Anyone else find it interesting that we have a thread about raising children started by a poster named Dr. Spock?

    Anyway I am anti-spanking as punishment. Trying to instill fear in small children doesn't sound like a good idea and it doesn't really work on older children. (who understand it's not really that bad and last only a few seconds) Plus it kind of sends the message that violence is an okay response to disputes, which isn't cool.

    And I say this as someone who has been beaten with a belt as a child. The only thing being hit taught me was to ignore threats of violence and hold my ground with whatever it is I am doing.

    If you've got to punish kids, time out or revoking of priveleges is probably a better way to go. (though I like the idea of finding better ways to get points across for kids if possible.)
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  9. ashcrimson777

    ashcrimson777 Newb Shiny Hunter

    See, teh problem I see with the last paragraph is that some kids don't care about having their privileges taken away. I've seen kids taht take it as a challenge. Oh, you took my DS away? Well, see how I can just do something else. Time-out? I'll leave in 10 minutes and do it again. But it is true that it does kind of say violence is okay. The way I see it, if the parent can explain why the kid is being spanked, and the spanking itself is both justified and not over-the-top, I don't see much problem with it. Obviously, if there are better laternatives that do work on their kids, great, but if not, it's an alternative
  10. Steampunk

    Steampunk One Truth Prevails

    Well, even if they may not understand why they are being punished at that point in time, that doesn't really change the fact thats its wrong. And they will at the very least understand that if they do it, it will have consequences.

    Like, say you look for a law book, and there is a law that you totally don't get, no matter how much someone explains it. You'll still get arrested if you break the law if you understand it or if you don't.

    Yeah, sorry about that, seeing as I hadn't heard this topic mentioned before on this site, I wasn't sure what the reaction was going to be like, so I kept it short and simple. Hey, at least its better than some other OPs at least XD)
    And if people want more in the OP, I'll sit down and add to it.
  11. Pesky Persian

    Pesky Persian Caffeine Queen

    You're not answering the question. If they don't understand why they're being punished, what is the punishment accomplishing? Being arrested is not at all like spanking. As an adult, if you strike another person, it's considered assault/battery.
    Lorde likes this.
  12. WizardTrubbish

    WizardTrubbish much more beastly

    I do not believe that spanking is an effective punishment, especially for very young children who can't make the connection between doing something wrong and getting punished, and can only understand that an adult is causing them pain. Even in older children, I think that spanking is a bad idea, as it can potentially lead to behavioral problems and hurts the relationship between parent and child.


    While it may achieve the desired effect in the short term, in the long term, spanking is counterintuitive
  13. Steampunk

    Steampunk One Truth Prevails

    Say, the law I didn't understand was the law dealing with assault/battery. I do not understand why I shouldn't do it, and I go strike someone. Does the fact that I do not understand the law make me exempt from the punishment?

    And to answer your question, the punishment gets the point across that its wrong, as an adult, knowing why something is wrong or not does not change the fact of what the punishment will be.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  14. Pesky Persian

    Pesky Persian Caffeine Queen

    If you are incapable of understanding why something like assault is wrong long an adult, it's usually because of something to do with your mental faculties. I.e. the person who hit the other person has a developmental condition or a mental health condition. And they (generally) are not punished to the full extent of the law... because we as adults know that it doesn't do any good to throw someone with a developmental condition in jail for something they don't understand. Funny how that works, isn't it?

    If they don't know what they did wrong and why, how is it getting that point across? I'm not saying that children should not face consequences for doing things they shouldn't. I'm asking how spanking a small child who (according to you) is incapable of reasoning their actions accomplishes anything. What is the point of punishment if they aren't actually learning why they shouldn't do something? Because when you spank someone as a form of learning, you're not teaching them "You shouldn't do this because it's wrong to do," you're teaching "You shouldn't do this because I'm going to harm you." I fail to see how that teaches anyone to grow as a normal, healthy, functioning human being.

    Edit: Also, can I point out another reason why your "ignorance of the law is no excuse" example is a false equivalency? Because we don't physically harm criminals (at least, not legally, but I'm not going to go into police brutality, etc. because that's a completely different subject). You could argue we have the death penalty, but that's only for the most serious of crimes. So if we don't (legally) use violence as a means of punishment for adults (people who, for the most part, are capable of logic, reasoning, and all the other mental functions of a pique human being), why is it acceptable to use on a child?

    Edit 2: lmao OP got worse.

    Edit 3: Psychological research shows that spanking is an ineffective teaching method and furthers the cycle of violence:
    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3
    Link 4
    And that's just the tip of the iceberg... I can provide more if you want.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
    PinkiePieFox likes this.
  15. SBaby

    SBaby Dungeon Master

    Honestly, it depends. This is not an easy issue, and there are no clear cut solutions that will work every time (especially when kids get to that age where they become extremely tempermental and want everything).

    The way I see it, there are usually two schools of parents in this regard. You have the ones that spank their kids when they are being unruly (or as I call them, the old-schoolers). Obviously, most people here know what going too far on this can lead to.

    As a subset, you also have the modern ones that instead pump their kids full of medication (such as Ritalin and the like) to calm them and keep them under control, despite the possibility of drug addiction and other long-term problems as a result of said medication.

    Both of these actions have consequences and potential ramifications for continued use. Before I go further, I will throw my hat in and say I do not condone either of the above actions, unless it is critically necessary for the survivability of the child. You don't give a kid pills to keep them calm. But if they have a life-threatening illness that they need them to treat, that's a different situation (though elaborating on that would go off topic, so I'll leave it at that).

    On the flipside, you have the parents that only use positive reinforcement, unless discipline is absolutely necessary. This can be a double-edged sword, because if parents don't know where to draw the line, then their kids could end up doing something that can't be undone before they fall in.

    It's weird to say, but there really aren't any right answers that are going to work every time with kids, specifically because every kid is different, and has a different personality. So the only thing parents can really do is experiment to see what works best for their own situation. They're going to make mistakes; there's no avoiding it. That's just part of parenting. But as long as it isn't outright abusive or negligent, and they talk to their kids and do things with them once in awhile, I think they'll be fine with it.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  16. Steampunk

    Steampunk One Truth Prevails

    True, I guess. I don't suppose you noticed my mentioning of the kid I babysat? You could explain to that kid, day in and day out, and he just would not get the fact that biting people was wrong. Now say he goes out when he's older and bites someone? He would get arrested. But say its something a bit more complicated, say Public Nudity? How exactly can you explain to a kid who wants to strip to keep his clothes on when you're at the mall?(My sister was like that, so I know all about this XD) You really can't, but its still wrong, and therefore it is just something you can't do.

    They will at least learn that if they do it, it will have consequences, even if you may not understand the why, that doesn't mean you get a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    I would just like to mention that i did say that this would be a last-resort type deal. I'm not saying go trigger happy on your kid. But there are many things out there that children just do not understand, and most likely will not until their older. But they still need to know that the cannot do certain things, and if you cannot teach them not to do it in the first place, then after you need to ensure that they will not do it again.

    This is what the concept of law is. Governments put laws in place and expect you to obey them or you will get punished, quite often they don't even explain it to you. But I am saying, attempt to explain first, if the still don't listen, take action.

    One could argue that mental punishment is worse than physical. What do you think is worse: Solitary confinement for days, months, years or a red mark that will go away in 30 seconds?

    From what I can tell, this article seems to be referring to beating your children as a display of power, not punishment. And that, I most certainly don't agree with.
    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3

    When it comes to topics like this, posting articles to prove a point really does nothing, because its usually all up to the bias of the writer of the article.
  17. Pesky Persian

    Pesky Persian Caffeine Queen

    @SBaby: I appreciate the thoughts and everything, but that didn't actually answer the question you quoted. Like at all...

    I never said parents are expected to be perfect or that kids of parents who use positive reinforcement are going to be perfect all the time. But I fail to see why that makes using violence as discipline an acceptable option. I also encourage you to read the links I provided.

    But you were just babysitting this child. I don't know how this child is normally taught by his parents, I don't know what he's like on a day-to-day basis, etc. Your anecdotal evidence means nothing to me. Public nudity? Really? I really don't think anyone cares if a toddler is nude in public because young kids often do that. (I don't really see the point in making the human body illegal anyway, but that's an entirely different discussion.) I really have never heard of older children who have issues keeping their clothes on in public; it's something most kids grow out of. Your equivalencies are not very good ones...

    How is not physically harming a child considered a get-out-of-jail-free card? There are so many other non-violent ways to teach a child right from wrong.

    Hitting someone for something they don't understand seems like a poor way to teach them not to do something. How are they supposed to learn not to do it again if they don't know what they're doing wrong? You still haven't answered that question. I don't think you can answer it.

    Okay, but the government still isn't going to assault you for running a red light.

    Solitary confinement is generally only used for prisoners who have been violent (wow, look, we don't condone adult-on-adult violence), and extensive solitary confinement is usually considered cruel and unusual punishment.

    I don't think you read them all the way through. Violence as punishment is also displaying your dominance/power as an adult, is it not? "I'm in charge, and I don't want you to do that so if you do it, I'm going to hit you" is the teaching mode for spanking. Also, your fist two links are just discussing the same study (one I would actually like to research and see some critiques on because it sounds like it has some issues, but I'd have to read the full research article myself), and your third link is a critique of a study, not disproving anything I've posted or the studies I linked to.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  18. Steampunk

    Steampunk One Truth Prevails

    True enough I guess.

    True, most grow out, but there is always the possibility of the child not growing out of it. And how would you explain to a child that its wrong(Illegal) to be nude in public? Especially if you yourself do not agree with the law?

    Okay, lets say I cannot answer it, its not like you can either. But at least with the fear of punishment, the child will not do what is wrong.

    True, I just used solitary as an example. Prison itself is extremely mentally taxing to those who are being punished by spending time there.

    And yet we have a military(Which I do not support, btw), practically begging to be used to show our power over other countries.

    It is the teaching mode for all post crime punishment. Taking away your child's game system, that showing your power over the child, but its mental, not physical punishment. And as I have mentioned before, it can be argued that mental pain is worse than physical.

    Okay, let me ask you something. You teach a child right and wrong, and he understand it....But disobeys anyways(And this happens a lot). Now, are you saying that that shouldn't be punished? If they should be punished, you have 2 choices, mental, or physical punishment, and both are done with the authority (Call it power or whatnot)of the parent.
  19. LDSman

    LDSman Banned

    Spanking as a level of punishment doesn't bother me. It should be something that is a last resort after things like timeouts, groundings, loss of privilege, etc. Or saved for very serious things that would get jail time for adults. Debatable for smaller children. I've seen kids get the explanation that throwing stuff or biting or whatever is bad and they keep doing it even with timeouts or being sent to bed for a nap and then when they get the light swat on the diapered rump will stop and when reminded later of the swat will not continue that behavior. So the occasional swat can help enforce the rules.

    Define spanking. Using a hand to swat someone on the butt a few times is not child abuse. An occasional use of a belt is not.

    Raising bleeding welts or very large bruises, broken bones is child abuse. Using a belt buckle is abuse. Using physical punishment as a first option is bit of a bad idea. Depends on the kid and the situation.
  20. Jb

    Jb Tsun in the streets

    A lot of people seem to confuse spankings with child abuse. I have seen first hand that spanking doesn't always work. Some children are just...bad. At that point, you should start seeking other means of help, because long term spankings can have a negative impact on a child's growth.

    On the other hand, popping your child's hand, because they've repetitively stolen cookies out the jar is okay and not abuse. Sometimes children need a deterrent. It's just like the hot stove analogy, you know it's hot and going to burn, so you don't touch it. You know your hands are going to get popped, so don't steal it.

    When I was younger, I only received spankings for things that were pretty bad like breaking property or talking back. If the only punishment was me being told not to do it again, I probably wouldn't have stopped.

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